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Is student loan debt part of the marital property?

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When a divorce reaches the property division stage of the proceedings, a number of critical factors come into play. For some, items that are up for grabs have sentimental value, thus making it an even harder fight when both soon-to-be ex-spouses are pushing for ownership. For others, there are barely any emotions involved at all, but there are a great deal of valuation questions to be answered. However, one common thread in almost all divorces is that at some point the decisions on what makes up marital property and what is non-marital property have to be made.

Marital property usually includes all of the property obtained during the marriage, by either spouse, unless there is some contractual agreement that states otherwise. Non-marital property includes assets that a spouse owned prior to the marriage. But, as a recent article pointed out, assets are the not only part of the asset division stage of a divorce - debt is part of it too.

And what is one type of debt that millions of Americans are racking up at a record pace? That would be student loan debt. For our Maryland readers who may not have known already, the recent article pointed out that student loan debt is rarely subject to division amongst the two divorcing spouses because in the vast majority of cases people accumulate the debt prior to marriage - making it part of the non-marital assets and debts.

This is just one example of a significant financial factor that anyone in Maryland who is contemplating a divorce will need to consider. Knowing what the potential result could be before the filing takes place can leave a Maryland resident better prepared to deal with the divorce, both during the process and afterward.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Who Is Responsible for the Student Loans After Divorce?" Charlie Wells, April 13, 2014

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